Take the time to familiarise yourself with the new Food Standards Code well before its start date.

The updated Code will come into effect on 1 March 2016 after a lengthy review, revision and consultation period.

With the NSW Fair Trading Department’s failure in the Nutricia case in the Supreme Court in 2008 (including clear criticism of the Code’s drafting and enforceability), FSANZ has attempted to address the issues identified to reduce uncertainty over its enforcement.

Importantly, the whole Code hasn’t changed. The amendments are intended to retain the substance of the provisions of the Code, but to improve the communication of its requirements and enhance its enforceability. The key changes include:

  • introduction of a new Dictionary of defined terms (in Standard 1.2.2);
  • an overhaul of the format (including new section numbers) and location of schedules;
  • removal of notes and purpose statements;
  • adoption of the definition of ‘food’ from the FSANZ Act into the FSC;
  • removal of rights and obligations from definitions;
  • updating wording to clarify key areas such as:
  • provisions relating to food additives, processing aids and nutritive substances; and
  • food composition requirements, to clarify when a requirement is legally required for sale of a product or a prerequisite to a permission (e.g. to add a food additive).

Having assisted the AFGC in its submissions to FSANZ, we note the updated Code has a very different “look and feel”. We recommend that food businesses familiarise themselves with navigating and using the revised Code well ahead of time.